Brothers of the Sonic Cloth Review


10922549_10152638866366188_5201370386463129053_nBy James Ballinger

It’s hard to put anticipation for an upcoming record into words. It’s even harder to not let high hopes ruin what should be considered an average-to-good record. Sure, we all are occasionally pleasantly surprised from time to time and sometimes even those large expectations live up to even exceed the hype you’ve somehow managed to build in your own psyche. Needless to say, the hype and wait for the Brothers of the Sonic Cloth debut has been growing since the projects inception. Outside of a three song demo CD and a split 10”, there hasn’t been anything released by the Seattle trio, making the record a “Chinese Doom-ocracy” of sorts. We all just assumed Tad and Co. would “keep cooking what’s cooking” and sooner or later the final record would surface.  Drummer changes, other projects, and Tad’s busy recording schedule at his Witch Ape Studio all added to the wait. But the wait is finally over, and it was indeed worth it.

It’s worth noting that Tad Doyle is nothing less than a living legend around these parts, and musically respected the world over. Tad (the band) was one of the building blocks of the Seattle scene, and sound. Distancing yourself from that kind of notoriety can be difficult. As natural as the need to move on, you somehow always live in the shadow of your former projects one way or another. While still heavy, the record isn’t really a throwback to another era, in a way it’s a love letter to the music that has been inspired and influenced by Tad’s existence. Assumingly, this wasn’t the intent. But it’s no doubt in the music itself, influenced by old and new ideas.

The album opens with “Lava”, an explosive and aggressive track that is short, sweet and to the point. At less than three minutes it’s the records shortest track. That’s part of what makes this record perfection, it’s the experience and knowledge of when to let an idea go and when to let a riff build and gain momentum. As the record continues, it becomes more apparent that this is the case. “Empires of Dust” is almost the complete opposite of the album opener- an eight minute down tempo doom opus with crushing riffs layered under soaring leads and Tad’s vocals pushing and pulling between growls and shamanistic chants. Over the course of the last few tracks, just about everything falls in-line perfectly where it should. The riffs stay heavy, the vocals match the feel of the riffs, and the rhythm section of Dave French and Peggy Doyle keep things tight and in place. It’s not flashy, but it doesn’t need to be.

When it’s all said and done, the Brothers of the Sonic Cloth further cements Tad’s legacy in this town, while allowing us to take the journey along with him.

The record release show is this Saturday at the Columbia City Theater with special guests Lesbian, and Grenades.